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National ballot to select nine young Australians for 80th Gallipoli anniversary

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MEDIA RELEASET he H on C on S c ia c c a IMP M i n i s t e r f o r V e t e r a n s ' A f f a ir s 1/95 5 January, 1995


The Federal Government will give nine young direct descendants of the original Anzacs a unique opportunity to visit Turkey on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

The Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Con Sciacca, announced an Australia-wide ballot to select the nine ambassadors to join a pilgrimage to mark this important and historic 80th anniversary ceremony.

"Given that all of Australia's World War I veterans are now well into their 90s, it was considered unwise to have them make the long trip," he said.

Mr Sciacca said advertisements would appear in all major metropolitan daily newspapers on Saturday seeking applications for inclusion in the national ballot.

He said one representative would be selected from each State and Territory, including one from Norfolk Island.

"Applicants will have to be between the ages of 18 and 35 years and prove their direct relationship to one of the Australian Anzacs. The serviceman's service number and details of his service at Gallipoli including the Brigade, Division, Battalion or Regiment will have to be provided," Mr Sciacca said.

The closing date for applications is 26 January, 1995. Initially, three applicants from each State and Territory will be selected from the ballot. The winners will be chosen following personal interviews with Department of Veterans' Affairs representatives and subject to a medical examination.

Mr Sciacca said he would lead the pilgrimage. "I want to ensure that the Gallipoli tr adition continues to be commemorated by all Australians and, in particular, young people," he said.

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"1995 will be an emotional year for Australians with the Australia Remembers program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War Π.

"However, it is crucial that as a nation we do not forget the 80th anniversary of Gallipoli. It is imperative that the torch of freedom passed from our World War I diggers to our veterans from subsequent conflicts continues to be passed to this country's future generations.

"One of the major reasons for including direct descendants of Anzac veterans is to ensure that the important process of education and commemorating the Anzac spirit forged during the Gallipoli campaign continues."

MEDIA ADVISER: Amanda Lampe (06) 277 7820 (W) (018) 499 538